My dad, a former Wall Street trader always advised me "cash is king" and to "hold on to it" when the economy gets tough.
But in the Netherlands, cash is definitely not getting the royal treatment. In so many places, it has simply ceased to be recognised as legal tender. More and more Dutch stores, from upscale health-food store Marqt to my local baker and bagel shop, take pin — or debit — cards exclusively. Some retailers even describe going cash-free as "cleaner" or "safer".
Tucking my debit card firmly away, I decide to see how far a bundle of cash will get me. Not far. The big-ticket items are strictly cashless affairs: my rent and my telephone bill among them.
I meet with baffled expressions and some resistance. "I can't remember the last time we received a cash payment," says Marielle Groentjes, an administrator with the company that manages my apartment, Hoen Property Management BV, and has worked there for a decade. "We don't like cash in the office, we don't have a safe, and banks charge you for depositing it."